Thursday 24 June 2021

An important new program titled 'Carer Friendly' has launched to help make neighbourhood houses more informed, compassionate and inviting spaces for Victoria’s carers.

Designed in partnership with Carers Victoria, with support of the State Government, this educational program will result in more social and support opportunities for over 730,000 Victorians with unpaid caring responsibilities. Carers are ordinary people who attend to the diverse needs of family or friends with disability, terminal illness, long lasting injury or mental health issues.

"I know quite a few people in caring roles who I really admire," Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO Nicole Battle said.

"While there is a lot of reward in looking after a loved one, it can also be incredibly demanding, both physically and emotionally. Carers make a lot of personal sacrifices in order to undertake their caregiving role, and as a society, we often tend to take that role for granted.

"That’s why it’s really important that carers have opportunities for respite too. Somewhere they can go where they will be understood, and can engage and have fun with others in their local community."

Nicole said neighbourhood houses were a natural fit when it came to meeting the needs of the carer community.

"We already know that neighbourhood houses provide an inclusive space for people from all walks of life, but the experiences of carers can be unique and often challenging, so this program is designed to provide some context for our staff and volunteers."

The Carer Friendly program involves neighbourhood house staff and volunteers undertaking a series of online learner modules which focus on a range of areas such as identifying carers, services available to carers, carer benefits and more.  

Once the modules are completed, the neighbourhood house will receive a Carer Friendly decal to display on their front window, signalling to carers that they are welcomed, and that the neighbourhood house is a safe space to share their experiences and seek support.

This decal will be displayed on neighbourhood houses that have completed the Carer Friendly online modules.

Carers Victoria Interim CEO Sue Peden said she was thrilled to see the program launching across neighbourhood houses. 

"Designed specifically for neighbourhood house staff and volunteers, the Carer Friendly program reflects one of our core values in actively building and strengthening community. The community of Neighbourhood Houses, and carers within each of those communities," Sue said.

"Carers Victoria’s partnership with Neighbourhood Houses Victoria provides the opportunity for staff and volunteers to develop a deeper understanding of carer needs and so be able to better recognise and support them. Carers will know that they will be in a welcoming, understanding, and supportive space in Carer Friendly Neighbourhood Houses."

Neighbourhood houses interested in becoming a Carer Friendly organisation can find out more.